Kanin, Aleksandr Ignat’evich
Born Nov. 24 (Dec. 6), 1877, in Saratov; died Nov. 3, 1953, in Riazan’. Soviet director and actor. Honored Artist of the RSFSR (1926). Became a member of the CPSU in 1950.
Kanin was a student in V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko’s class at the Moscow Art Theater. Upon graduation in 1904, he joined V. E. Meyerhold’s company in Tbilisi. In 1905 and 1906 he worked in Moscow in the Studio on Povarskaia Street (under the direction of Meyerhold and K. S. Stanislavsky). Kanin subsequently worked in the provinces (Voronezh, Rostov-on-Don, Kazan, and Irkutsk). In the Soviet era he headed theaters in several cities, including Ashkhabad, Voronezh, and Kursk (1934–41). In 1948 he became the principal director of the Riazan’ Theater. Kanin earned a place in theatrical history for his outstanding stagings of M. Gorky’s plays. He staged nearly all of Gorky’s plays and often portrayed the main roles. His best productions included Vassa Zheleznova (1910, Taganrog; 1935, Kursk) and Egor Bulychov and Others (1933, Voronezh; 1946, Buriat Theater, Ulan-Ude). In 1951, Kanin was awarded the State Prize of the USSR for his production of the play Smug Citizens and his portrayal of Bessemenov in the Riazan’ Theater. As a director-teacher, he sought to bring out the artistic individuality of the actor and to create well thought-out stage sets. He taught at drama schools that he organized in Saratov, Kiev, Samara, Penza, Voronezh, and Kursk.